Taking Prescribed Medicine is Good for Your Heart (and Your Wallet)

SYoung Health Guide
  • Let me first start this entry by saying that I am not employed by the drug industry, nor do I receive financial compensation in any way, shape, or form from them. Lipitor probably saved my life ten years ago by helping bring down my LDL (bad cholesterol) level below the "danger zone" and getting me on the path to heart health.


    While browsing through my RSS feed the other day I noticed a very interesting new study recently featured by the American Journal of Cardiology that summarized the relationship between being a regular taker of statin drugs and one's medical expenditures.  The study reviewed the data and records of over 380,000 people taking statins to control LDL and found that participants who classified as regular takers of the drug (these were people who took statins at least 80 percent of the time) incurred $400 to $900 less in total medical expenses.

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    The study also found that patients who failed to take their statins medication regularly had a significantly higher likelihood of being hospitalized for cardiovascular disease than the adherent group. The increased risk was especially dramatic for people with a past history of coronary artery disease.


    Not taking prescribed medication can be a bad idea. However, a big reason that causes many patients to stop taking medication is the financial burden that purchasing prescribed drugs on a regular basis can have. In this case make sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist for a less expensive generic version of the drug, or get help through assistance programs offered by state health agencies, non-profit organizations, and drug companies. A list of prescription programs is available on the website of the Partnership for Prescription Assistance.


    Many others forget or even refuse to take prescribed drugs and this can have a severe ill-effect on one's health, especially heart health. This problem is so widespread - and so costly - some experts have dubbed it the "invisible epidemic." Medicines, such as statins, are designed to address underlying risk factors rather than to treat an immediate problem. High blood pressure and coronary artery disease, for example, can grow steadily worse without causing any symptoms at all.


    Sometimes side effects can cause patients to stop taking their medication, that's why it is extremely important to regularly see a cardiologist if you suffer from high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or cardiovascular disease. Regular testing can catch any bad side effects and your cardiologist can work with you to either adjust your dosage or find alternatives. And definitely don't stop taking prescribed medication or start an alternative treatment before speaking with a cardiologist.

Published On: April 20, 2011